Typically at this time of year there are many stories about how churches are responding to hunger in their communities. St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Natik is doing heroic work in their community. But the need has grown so great that their food pantry has outgrown their parish building. Luckily the community around them came to the rescue:
"‘In this economy, when people are really struggling, food is an easy way to give back,’’ said Julia Davison, standing in the chain of volunteers as her 14-month-old daughter, Marta, napped in her stroller.
The Natick Service Council organized the move to a bigger location, in part to meet a growing number of requests, which are up by 25 percent, said director of volunteers, Patty Shaffer.
The former school is being turned into a new center for the service council. A grand opening is slated for January, Shaffer said."
Read the full story here.
This story of strong community support is a bright light at a time when we've been hearing about the opposite sort of reactions to churches trying to feed their neighbors.
Earlier this month the City of Phoenix Arizona shut down a weekly pancake breakfast for the homeless because of neighborhood complaints.
Last week an Episcopal church in Chicago was vandalized after an newspaper report highlighted the work of its food pantry.
Yesterday we posted news about the controversy at the Episcopal cathedral in Houston where, because of their outreach to homeless people in that part of the city, they are being sued by a neighbor because "the individuals sing, play music, dance, fight and (do) other undesirable activities."
What's the situation like in your neighborhood? Are people responding with open arms to the needs of the community, or is the opposite starting to happen?